Ohio Chamber Testifies in Support of Employment Discrimination Reform Legislation

The Ohio House Civil Justice Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from prominent Ohio employment attorneys in support of the Ohio Chamber’s Employment Law Uniformity Act. The legislation, HB 352, is a top priority of the Ohio Chamber because it brings much needed reform to Ohio’s confusing workplace discrimination laws that negatively impact Ohio’s business and legal climates.

You can read more about the bill in my previous blog here, but HB 352 makes several important changes to Ohio’s workplace discrimination statutes including:

  • Lowering the nation’s longest statute of limitation for workplace discrimination claims from six years to two years.
  • Requiring the exhaustion of administrative remedies at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission prior to filing a lawsuit.
  • Removing personal liability for supervisors and managers in workplace discrimination actions.
  • Codifying a U.S. Supreme Court affirmative defense for hostile work environment claims into Ohio law.
  • Simplifying Ohio’s age discrimination statutes to align with the procedures of filing a discrimination for all other protected classes.

Attorneys from Barnes & Thornburg, FisherPhillips, Dinsmore & Shohl and Squire, Patton, Boggs each shared their expertise with the committee members through their testimony and highlighted how problematic Ohio’s employment discrimination laws are for employers. 

Also providing testimony in support of HB 352 was NFIB-Ohio, Ohio SHRM, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio Grocers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys, and the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice.

This diverse group of business organizations shows how this bill will have a positive impact on the business operations of every employer in the Buckeye State because the legislation makes common-sense reforms to align our employment discrimination statutes with federal law and the laws of other states.

In addition to support from the business community, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the administrative agency that enforces Ohio’s employment discrimination statute is a proponent of the legislation and testified in favor of the bill in committee.

The bill’s next step is a third hearing in House Civil Justice Committee, and following that hearing, the bill will be ready for a vote out of the committee. The Ohio Chamber and our business community partners are committed to pressing lawmakers to pass this important pro-business legislation.